AMCS 312W - Topics In English And American Literature: End Of The Century: American Culture During The 1990S
Starting with Allan Bloom's "The Closing of the American Mind," a book that helped re-ignite the Culture Wars, this course will consider the debates and problems that pervaded American culture during the 1990s. From the end of the Cold War to the sexual scandals that rocked Bill Clinton's presidency, from the emergence of the Internet to the rise of grunge and rap, the 1990s were a time of vast change in American culture. It was period when we, as a nation, reconsidered the legacy of the 1960s, the Reagan revolution, and the end of the Cold War, a time of economic expansion and cultural tension. In our consideration of this period, we will take a multidisciplinary approach when tackling a variety of materials-ranging from literary fiction (Philip Roth's "The Human Stain," Jonathan Franzen's "The Corrections") and popular films (Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" and The Cohen brothers' "The Big Lebowski") to personal memoir and the music of Nirvana and Public Enemy-in an attempt to come to a better understanding of our recent history. Throughout the semester, we will pursue the vexed cultural, political, and historical questions that Americans faced in the years between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and consider how literary texts imagined this period of American history. Other possible texts include David Foster Wallace's "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," Joan Didion's "Political Fictions," Toni Morrison's "Paradise," John Updike's "Rabbit at Rest," and Elizabeth Wurtzel's "Prozac Nation." Satisfies the Twentieth Century and later requirement.